NELSON TRAILS

 

Dun Mountain Trail

Dun Mountain Trail is one of the must-do walks or rides in Nelson. The trail follows the alignment of the historic Dun Mountain Railway, New Zealand’s first railway, which was in operation between 1862 and 1901 to transport chromite extracted from mines on the eastern slopes of Wooded Peak. The trail ventures through the dramatic landscape of the Dun Mountain Mineral Belt, which is characterised by stunted vegetation and reddish-brown soil and rocks. Traditionally a great day walk, the trail is now an increasingly popular biking circuit and is now categorised as one of New Zealand’s Great Rides. Its appeal stems from the fascinating landscape it traverses, as well as its achievable length and ability to be completed from central Nelson. Dun Mountain Trail also provides access to Rocks Hut and Te Araroa Trail, and passes through the trail riding areas of Codgers MTB Park and Fringed Hill. Dun Mountain Trail is located on Nelson City Council land, though is managed by Nelson MTB Club.

Details (Full Circuit)
Length37.4 km return circuit to Brook St via Tantragee Saddle; 39.7 km return circuit to Brook St via Maitai Valley; 44 km return circuit to Millers Acre
Time Required3-4 hr for MTB
Trail TypeShared track
Physical DifficultyModerate      to Hard   
Technical DifficultyIntermediate      to Advanced   
UsesWalking, trail running and MTB
DirectionBrook Valley start for MTB, either for walkers and trail runners
Max Elevation878 m
Dog AccessDogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail

Access




  5 min from central Nelson (Brook Valley) | 15 min from central Nelson (Smiths Ford)

 

Coppermine Trail‘ is a new name (Aug 2019) that applies to the entire return circuit to central Nelson, distinguishing it from Dun Mountain Trail; the latter officially starts at the beginning of Codgers Track in Brook Valley, and officially ends at Smiths Ford in Maitai Valley (giving it a length 30.7 km). Coppermine Trail includes the route from central Nelson to the start of Codgers Track, as well as the route from Smiths Ford to central Nelson (making up the remaining 13 km of the entire return circuit, which is approx. 44 km). In other words, Dun Mountain Trail is still Dun Mountain Trail, while Coppermine Trail encompasses Dun Mountain Trail and more.

 

Dun Mountain Trail can be completed as a full circuit or in sections. As it links with many other tracks on the surrounding ridges and valleys, routes of varying length and difficulty can be created. Given the length of the trail there are multiple locations you can start from. A full circuit is best ridden in an anti-clockwise direction, i.e. starting in Brook Valley, as you can take advantage of the gentle gradient of the former rail alignment. The three main sections of the trail are Brook Valley to Third House, Third House to Coppermine Saddle and Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Dam. The trail is well-used among walkers, trail runners and bikers; bikers should always be cautious of people on foot and should give way to them, particularly when descending at speed. Dogs are prohibited on the trail.

 

Starting in Brook Valley

The official starting point of Dun Mountain Trail is Codgers Track, which follows the beginning of the former rail incline. Codgers Track begins on the left side of Brook St, partway up Brook Valley, and has an information panel detailing some of the history of the railway, as well as times and distances. Codgers Track is also the gateway to Codgers MTB Park.

 

Codgers Track is a 10 min ride from central Nelson. If you’re driving to the start, you can park on the street adjacent to Codgers Track (limited spaces), or continue a further 800 m down Brook St and turn left into the car park immediately after the bridge across The Brook. From the car park follow the signposts the short distance to Codgers Track. If you’re on foot, you can also climb the walkway that heads straight uphill from the car park.

 

Starting in Maitai Valley

From central Nelson, head up Maitai Valley Rd for about 5 km, and park in the car park on the right before Maitai Motor Camp. From here you can cross the bridge over Maitai River, turn left onto Maitai River Walkway, then right onto Te Ara Kōpoki, a shared use track that climbs to Tantragee Saddle to connect with Dun Mountain Trail. Note the Te Ara Kōpiki can only be ridden in the uphill direction.

 

Starting at Maitai Dam

If you’re looking to do a return trip to Dun Mountain summit or Coppermine Saddle, the best place to park is at the car park before Maitai Dam. The dam is an 11 km drive up Maitai Valley Rd from central Nelson.

Safety

Dun Mountain Trail reaches an elevation of 878 m at Coppermine Saddle. Whilst not alpine, the sparsely-vegetated mineral belt is very exposed, and Windy Point often lives up to its name. The eastern slope of Wells Ridge between Windy Point and Coppermine Saddle receives little sunlight in winter, and consequently the track can be icy. Make sure you are prepared with warm layers.

 

Mobile phone coverage is patchy between Maitai Dam and Third House.

 

Though classed as a Great Ride, Dun Mountain Trail is a shared track that is popular among walkers and trail runners; please ride accordingly, and be respectful of all trail users.

 

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Dun Mountain Trail

Dun Mountain Trail is one of the must-do walks or rides in Nelson. The trail follows the alignment of the historic Dun Mountain Railway, New Zealand’s first railway, which was in operation between 1862 and 1901 to transport chromite extracted from mines on the eastern slopes of Wooded Peak. The trail ventures through the dramatic landscape of the Dun Mountain Mineral Belt, which is characterised by stunted vegetation and reddish-brown soil and rocks. Traditionally a great day walk, the trail is now an increasingly popular biking circuit and is now categorised as one of New Zealand’s Great Rides. Its appeal stems from the fascinating landscape it traverses, as well as its achievable length and ability to be completed from central Nelson. Dun Mountain Trail also provides access to Rocks Hut and Te Araroa Trail, and passes through the trail riding areas of Codgers MTB Park and Fringed Hill. Dun Mountain Trail is located on Nelson City Council land, though is managed by Nelson MTB Club.

Details (Full Circuit)
Length37.4 km return circuit to Brook St via Tantragee Saddle; 39.7 km return circuit to Brook St via Maitai Valley; 44 km return circuit to Millers Acre
Time Required3-4 hr for MTB
Trail TypeShared track
Physical DifficultyModerate      to Hard   
Technical DifficultyIntermediate      to Advanced   
UsesWalking, trail running and MTB
DirectionBrook Valley start for MTB, either for walkers and trail runners
Max Elevation878 m
Dog AccessDogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


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Access

  5 min from central Nelson (Brook Valley) | 15 min from central Nelson (Smiths Ford)

 

Coppermine Trail‘ is a new name (Aug 2019) that applies to the entire return circuit to central Nelson, distinguishing it from Dun Mountain Trail; the latter officially starts at the beginning of Codgers Track in Brook Valley, and officially ends at Smiths Ford in Maitai Valley (giving it a length 30.7 km). Coppermine Trail includes the route from central Nelson to the start of Codgers Track, as well as the route from Smiths Ford to central Nelson (making up the remaining 13 km of the entire return circuit, which is approx. 44 km). In other words, Dun Mountain Trail is still Dun Mountain Trail, while Coppermine Trail encompasses Dun Mountain Trail and more.

 

Dun Mountain Trail can be completed as a full circuit or in sections. As it links with many other tracks in the surrounding ridges and valleys, routes of varying length and difficulty can be created. Given the length of the trail there are multiple locations you can start from. A full circuit is best ridden in an anti-clockwise direction, i.e. starting in Brook Valley, as you can take advantage of the gentle gradient of the former rail alignment. The three main sections of the trail are Brook Valley to Third House, Third House to Coppermine Saddle and Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Dam. The trail is shared by both walkers and bikers; bikers should always be cautious of walkers and should give way to them, particularly when descending at speed. Dogs are prohibited on the trail.

 




 

The official starting point of Dun Mountain Trail is Codgers Track, which follows the beginning of the former rail incline. Codgers Track begins on the left side of Brook St, partway up Brook Valley, and has an information panel detailing some of the history of the railway, as well as times and distances. Codgers Track is also the gateway to Codgers MTB Park.

 

Codgers Track is a 10 min ride from central Nelson. If you’re driving to the start, you can park on the street adjacent to Codgers Track (limited spaces), or continue a further 800 m down Brook St and turn left into the car park immediately after the bridge across The Brook. From the car park follow the signposts the short distance to Codgers Track. If you’re on foot, you can also climb the walkway that heads straight uphill from the car park.

 

Starting at Maitai Dam

If you’re looking to do a return trip to Dun Mountain summit or Coppermine Saddle, the best place to park is at the car park before Maitai Dam. The dam is an 11 km drive up Maitai Valley Rd from central Nelson.

Safety

Dun Mountain Trail reaches an elevation of 878 m at Coppermine Saddle. Whilst not alpine, the sparsely-vegetated mineral belt is very exposed, and Windy Point often lives up to its name. The eastern slope of Wells Ridge between Windy Point and Coppermine Saddle receives little sunlight in winter, and consequently the track can be icy. Make sure you are prepared with warm layers.

 

Mobile phone coverage is patchy between Maitai Dam and Third House.

 

Though classed as a Great Ride, Dun Mountain Trail is a shared track that is popular among walkers and trail runners; please ride accordingly, and be respectful of all trail users.

Dun Mountain Trail

Brook Valley to Third House

Details
Length11.4 km (via Codgers Track) or 10.3 km (from car park)
Time Required2 hr 30 min-3 hr (one way, walking)
Trail TypeShared track
Physical DifficultyModerate   
Technical DifficultyEasy   
UsesWalking, trail running and MTB
DirectionEither
Start Elevation50 m
Finish Elevation660 m
Dog AccessDogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


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Connections

Codgers MTB Park

  MTB

Fringed Hill

   Walking, trail running and MTB

Jenkins Hill

   Walking, trail running and MTB




Description




Begin by heading up Codgers Track, which follows the historic rail alignment from the side of Brook St. This will take you along the bottom of Codgers MTB Park and nearly to the top of Tantragee Saddle. Alternatively you can begin at the car park at the start of Tantragee Road, where a walkway climbs uphill for 1 km to link with the original rail alignment.

 

The trail steadily gains elevation along the western flank of Fringed Hill, passing through plantation forestry and gullies of native scrub. As the track follows the rail alignment, the gradient is gentle. At Bullock Spur there is a good lookout and picnic spot, and at the head of the following gully (Cummins Creek) is the site of First House. After 4.5 km the intersection known as ‘Four Corners’ is reached (where Fringed Hill Classic connects on the left).

 

After Four Corners the trail enters beech forest and continues on the uphill side of Brook-Waimarama Sanctuary. The trail crosses a large slip that has caused issues over the last few years. The steep hillside means it will likely continue to cause occasional closures and force detours along the sanctuary fence line. The trail continues through a few railway cuttings and past the site of Second House. Third House is 4.3 km beyond Four Corners, on a point on the ridge once known as Wairoa Saddle. The existing shelter is not the original building; the latter was used as a workshop for the railway and storage depot. Third House is also the connection point for the sanctuary fence line road, which you can follow through to Jenkins Hill and Marsden Valley.

Dun Mountain Trail
Brook Valley to Third House
Details
Length11.4 km (via Codgers Track) or 10.3 km (from car park)
Time Required2 hr 30 min-3 hr (one way, walking)
Trail TypeShared track
Physical DifficultyModerate   
Technical DifficultyEasy   
UsesWalking, trail running and MTB
DirectionEither
Start Elevation50 m
Finish Elevation660 m
Dog AccessDogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 




 

Description

Begin by heading up Codgers Track, which follows the historic rail alignment from the side of Brook St. This will take you along the bottom of Codgers MTB Park and nearly to the top of Tantragee Saddle. Alternatively you can begin at the car park at the start of Tantragee Road, where a walkway climbs uphill for 1 km to link with the original rail alignment.

 

The trail steadily gains elevation along the western flank of Fringed Hill, passing through plantation forestry and gullies of native scrub. As the track follows the rail alignment, the gradient is gentle. At Bullock Spur there is a good lookout and picnic spot, and at the head of the following gully (Cummins Creek) is the site of First House. After 4.5 km the intersection known as ‘Four Corners’ is reached (where Fringed Hill Classic connects on the left).

 

After Four Corners the trail enters beech forest and continues on the uphill side of Brook-Waimarama Sanctuary. The trail crosses a large slip that has caused issues over the last few years. The steep hillside means it will likely continue to cause occasional closures and force detours along the sanctuary fence line. The trail continues through a few railway cuttings and past the site of Second House. Third House is 4.3 km beyond Four Corners, on a point on the ridge once known as Wairoa Saddle. The existing shelter is not the original building; the latter was used as a workshop for the railway and storage depot. Third House is also the connection point for the sanctuary fence line road, which you can follow through to Jenkins Hill and Marsden Valley.

Connections

Codgers MTB Park

MTB

Fringed Hill

Walking, trail running and MTB

Jenkins Hill

Walking, trail running and MTB

Dun Mountain Trail

Third House to Coppermine Saddle

Details
Length6.3 km
Time Required1 hr 30 min-2 hr (one way, walking)
Trail TypeShared track
Physical DifficultyModerate   
Technical DifficultyIntermediate   
UsesWalking, trail running and MTB
DirectionEither
Start Elevation660 m
Finish Elevation878 m
Dog AccessDogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Description




Beyond Third House the trail continues to Junction Saddle (682 m), where the rail alignment reaches a saddle in the ridge. This is the eastern end of Black Diamond Ridge Track, which heads back along the crest of the ridge to Fringed Hill (and gives access to Sunrise Ridge). Wooded Peak Track also begins at Junction Saddle, climbing Wooded Peak (1111 m) and connecting back to Dun Mountain Trail at Windy Point.

 

Soon after Junction Saddle the site of an 1863 lime kiln is passed. The kiln extracted limestone from an exposed section of the Wooded Peak limestone formation that the trail crosses. The site of Fourth House is 3.1 km beyond Junction Saddle and soon after the beech forest gives way to the coarse scrub of the mineral belt. Windy Point (845 m) is a few hundred metres later, where Wooded Peak Track connects from the left. The stunted vegetation allows expansive views south across the mineral belt. Most of the chromite mines were located either side of the trail between Windy Point and Coppermine Saddle. The most obvious remaining evidence of the mining works are the spoil piles, though you may also spot some of the surviving railway sleepers beneath your wheels (or feet). The trail crosses several rock chutes, with many boulders positioned precariously on the uphill side of the track.

 

Coppermine Saddle (878 m) is 1.1 km from Windy Point. Here there is a track junction that gives access to Dun Saddle, Dun Mountain Summit, Rocks Hut and Te Araroa Trail. There is a toilet and a signpost indicating the times and distances to the next locations. Coppermine Saddle is the furthest point the railway was constructed to.

Dun Mountain Trail
Third House to Coppermine Saddle
Details
Length6.3 km
Time Required1 hr 30 min-2 hr (one way, walking)
Trail TypeShared track
Physical DifficultyModerate   
Technical DifficultyIntermediate   
UsesWalking, trail running and MTB
DirectionEither
Start Elevation660 m
Finish Elevation878 m
Dog AccessDogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 




 

Description

Beyond Third House the trail continues to Junction Saddle (682 m), where the rail alignment reaches a saddle in the ridge. This is the eastern end of Black Diamond Ridge Track, which heads back along the crest of the ridge to Fringed Hill (and gives access to Sunrise Ridge). Wooded Peak Track also begins at Junction Saddle, climbing Wooded Peak (1111 m) and connecting back to Dun Mountain Trail at Windy Point.

 

Soon after Junction Saddle the site of an 1863 lime kiln is passed. The kiln extracted limestone from an exposed section of the Wooded Peak limestone formation that the trail crosses. The site of Fourth House is 3.1 km beyond Junction Saddle and soon after the beech forest gives way to the coarse scrub of the mineral belt. Windy Point (845 m) is a few hundred metres later, where Wooded Peak Track connects from the left. The stunted vegetation allows expansive views south across the mineral belt. Most of the chromite mines were located either side of the trail between Windy Point and Coppermine Saddle. The most obvious remaining evidence of the mining works are the spoil piles, though you may also spot some of the surviving railway sleepers beneath your wheels (or feet). The trail crosses several rock chutes, with many boulders positioned precariously on the uphill side of the track.

 

Coppermine Saddle (878 m) is 1.1 km from Windy Point. Here there is a track junction that gives access to Dun Saddle, Dun Mountain Summit, Rocks Hut and Te Araroa Trail. There is a toilet and a signpost indicating the times and distances to the next locations. Coppermine Saddle is the furthest point the railway was constructed to.




 

Dun Mountain Trail

Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Valley

Details
Distances10 km Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Dam; 3.8 km Maitai Dam to Smiths Ford; Smiths Ford; 7.6 km Maitai Dam to start of Codgers via Tantragee Saddle
Time Required2-3 hr (one way, walking)
Trail TypeShared track
Physical DifficultyModerate    (going down)  or Hard     (going up)
Technical DifficultyAdvanced   
UsesWalking, trail running and MTB
DirectionDownhill for MTB, either for walkers and runners
Start Elevation878 m
Finish Elevation120 m (Maitai Dam) or 90 m (Smiths Ford)
Dog AccessDogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Connections

Dun Mountain Circuit

  Walking and trail running

Maungatapu Circuit

  Walking and trail running

Maitai Cave

  Walking

Teal Saddle and Central Road

   Trail running and MTB




Description




From Coppermine Saddle the trail descends through a small patch of beech forest and sidles the western flank of Dun Mountain. The original tramping track between Maitai Dam and the forks to Coppermine Saddle was best described as a ‘rock garden’, with large boulders, deep ruts and drainage channels on the trail edges making for a technical and bone-rattling descent. When its riding potential was realised a decade ago, the trail was smoothed and realigned to lessen the gradient, which now sees it flowing through numerous zig-zags as it descends into the valley of the Maitai River South Branch. Despite these improvements, the descent from Coppermine Saddle still requires a reasonable level of technical ability. Bikers should be very cautious of walkers through this section.

 

As the trail descends into the Maitai South Branch valley the vegetation transitions from mineral belt scrub to tall kānuka and then to beech and ferns. Cross the footbridge over Maitai South Branch where Maitai Cave Track connects on the left. Continue through beech forest alongside the river until the trail widens into a 4WD road. Peaking Ridge Track connects on the left (it is not signposted) and Bob Taylor Road soon after. From here it’s an easy 1 km back to the footbridge across to Maitai Valley Road car park.

 

Instead of crossing the footbridge, you can follow the Pipeline Track on the true left of the Maitai River to Smiths Ford (3.8 km), before following the road for the rest of the distance down the valley. Alternatively, you can cross the footbridge and descend Maitai Valley via the road. If you are riding the whole way down Maitai Valley to central Nelson, Maitai Valley Road is sometimes a better option than Maitai River Walkway as the latter is narrow and often busy with walkers.

Dun Mountain Trail
Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Valley
Details
Distances10 km Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Dam; 3.8 km Maitai Dam to Smiths Ford; Smiths Ford; 7.6 km Maitai Dam to start of Codgers via Tantragee Saddle
Time Required2-3 hr (one way, walking)
Trail TypeShared track
Physical DifficultyModerate    (going down)  or Hard     (going up)
Technical DifficultyAdvanced   
UsesWalking, trail running and MTB
DirectionDownhill for MTB, either for walkers and runners
Start Elevation878 m
Finish Elevation120 m (Maitai Dam) or 90 m (Smiths Ford)
Dog AccessDogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 




 

Description

From Coppermine Saddle the trail descends through a small patch of beech forest and sidles the western flank of Dun Mountain. The original tramping track between Maitai Dam and the forks to Coppermine Saddle was best described as a ‘rock garden’, with large boulders, deep ruts and drainage channels on the trail edges making for a technical and bone-rattling descent. When its riding potential was realised a decade ago, the trail was smoothed and realigned to lessen the gradient, which now sees it flowing through numerous zig-zags as it descends into the valley of the Maitai River South Branch. Despite these improvements, the descent from Coppermine Saddle still requires a reasonable level of technical ability. Bikers should be very cautious of walkers through this section.

 

As the trail descends into the Maitai South Branch valley the vegetation transitions from mineral belt scrub to tall kānuka and then to beech and ferns. Cross the footbridge over Maitai South Branch where Maitai Cave Track connects on the left. Continue through beech forest alongside the river until the trail widens into a 4WD road. Peaking Ridge Track connects on the left (it is not signposted) and Bob Taylor Road soon after. From here it’s an easy 1 km back to the footbridge across to Maitai Valley Road car park.

 

Instead of crossing the footbridge, you can follow the Pipeline Track on the true left of the Maitai River to Smiths Ford (3.8 km), before following the road for the rest of the distance down the valley. Alternatively, you can cross the footbridge and descend Maitai Valley via the road. If you are riding the whole way down Maitai Valley to central Nelson, Maitai Valley Road is sometimes a better option than Maitai River Walkway as the latter is narrow and often busy with walkers.




 

Connections

Dun Mountain Circuit

Walking and trail running

Maungatapu Circuit

Walking and trail running

Maitai Cave

Walking

Teal Saddle and Central Road

Trail running and MTB

Updated 3 September 2019